Paranormal Activity 3
Horror (Action, Thriller)
Running Time: 83 minutes
Starring: Lauren Bittner, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Dustin Ingram, Johanna Braddy, Christopher Nicholas Smith
Directed By: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
A family of four is tormented by a ghost that seems interested in befriending the youngest child.
I sat for a long time after watching this film trying to come up with an example of a franchise bouncing back after sucking so bad the movie prior. All I could come up with was the difference between Shrek 3 and the 4th, and Star Wars 3 compared to the first 2. Anyways, I was astounded at the complete turnaround from the second film to this one. Paranormal Activity 3 is another prequel taking place back in 1988. It details the lives of sisters Katie (lead from the first film) and Kristi (lead from the second film) as kids. Strange happenings are occurring around their house and their father sets up video cameras to capture the phenomenon.
I wasn’t looking forward to this film as the second one sucked the life out of this franchise. That view changed quickly as I was pleasantly surprised early in this film and that emotion carried all the way to an unfortunate lame finale. That being said the scary journey of the first two acts is more than worth checking this film out. The film starts off and instantly the viewer will be thinking that this is another cheesy, and unoriginal cash grab but give it a little time. After the standard inane introductions to the family and a tour of the house the film settles down. The camera work in this film is brilliant for Handy cam style. Sure the quality of the camera is way too good for 1988. The cameras also never seem to need new VHS tapes for recording which gets glossed over but the payoff from the shots makes it easy to ignore. I complained that they overdid the number of cameras in the second Paranormal and thankfully they corrected that with this film. There is one in the master bedroom, one in the kid’s room, and one rigged camera on an oscillating mount that pans from kitchen to the dining room area and that is it. They also carry the camera around for no good reason but it captures some great scenes as the dad quietly walks around the house checking on noises. The entity in the house seems malevolent right from the start even though it does nothing overtly threatening. Most viewers will find the film tension filled as scary shit seems to be popping up everywhere and at frequent intervals. Sure there are the typical loud noises and sudden broken items that will make you jump, but this film builds so much anticipation for evil doings and that never goes away. The oscillating camera is the best part of the film as it pans slowly back and forth. The slow camera coverage will have most people cringing in fear of the unexpected.
The acting is not the worst and totally fine for what this film is going for. If you have seen one Paranormal movie than you know what to expect. That is people doing their job and not detracting from the films vibe. I do applaud the child actors as they hold their own when so many kids might have blown this movie.
As the film progresses the frights keep on coming. The entity seems playful one second then murderous the next. It is similar to the first movie but the pranks and noises this entity pulls are unique and well thought up. It is not content on simply moving some pots or breaking a picture as it relentlessly attacks this family both physically and mentally. Although this film has elements from the first two movies I still felt it was entirely original and that is a blessing when so much stuff gets recycled these days. Another scary element to this film is the kid Kristi seems attuned to seeing the specter and maybe even talking to it that leads to some WTF moments. Couple that with the entity messing with anyone who happens to visit the house and you are in for a bumpy ride. However this film is not perfect by any means. One critique is as a prequel it is supposed to fill in the unanswered questions from the first two movies and it never did that which was strange to me. The ending also sucked and is what kept this movie from being great for me. It is pretty stupid and it offers more questions than it answers trying to set up the next film instead of properly giving this one closure. A more satisfying end would have had me raving about this film. All in all this movie is a pretty good scare fest that will make you jump on multiple occasions.
Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman team up and do a great jump of making this film work. This film always has the viewer on edge with interesting camera angles and well timed scares. It felt like a unique entry into this franchise and while the ending sucked the ride to get there was entertaining. Truly a solid job to save this franchises respect factor.
I give this movie a recommendation but especially to people who like to be scared without a ton of blood.
T Factor + If you are easily scared then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like your horror to be gory than this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Grave Encounters, Quarantine.